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Association of Black Cardiologists Holds First Annual Conference in Jamaica

KINGSTON — The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), Inc., an inclusive organization dedicated to eliminating disparities in cardiovascular diseases, and the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) met in Jamaica recently.

At least 150 registered attendees were on hand as the premier center of excellence for cardiovascular care in the English-speaking Caribbean concluded its first joint conference January 18 to 20.

Various healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, cardiac technicians, and medical students) participated in ‘Conversations with…Masters in Cardiology: Cardiovascular Care and Technology in Low Resource Environments’ and were afforded insight into how to utilize the latest technologies to positively impact patient care in low resource nations.

“A medical conference with such a large and internationally esteemed faculty presenting together under one roof has been unprecedented in the region, until now,” said Dr. Ernest Madu, Program Co-chair and Chairman, HIC and HIC Heart Hospital. “We are thrilled to have broken another barrier by bringing such a high level medical conference to Jamaica, and extremely pleased by the attendance and interest demonstrated by the local and international medical community. The Masters of Cardiology conference was another successful collaboration between the Heart Institute of the Caribbean and the Association of Black Cardiologists. This will be an annual event, and we look forward to an even bigger and better showing in 2020, under the theme Medicine and Society.”

The two-day, eight-session conference featured leading clinicians, researchers and chairs of medicine and cardiology representing prestigious international institutions, including Yale University, The University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, UCLA, Harvard Medical School, Heart Institute of the Caribbean, Tulane University and the University of the West Indies. “Masters” and panelists covered such topics as Bridging Access to Care; Imaging, Ischemic and Non-ischemic Heart Disease; Heart Failure; Cardiovascular Risks and Preventive Cardiology. The discussions placed special focus on patients of African origin, emphasizing cardiovascular pharmacotherapy and interventions and international collaboration. The conference concluded with case presentations from HIC, encompassing a lively exchange on quality and standards of care.

Conference highlights included a special keynote lecture from Michael Parmacek, MD, Chairman, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, who addressed “Training Physician Leaders.” Following Dr. Parmacek’s lead-off, stimulating keynote address, ABC Past Chair, Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, and Principal Investigator of the NEW-HOPE Study, presented “New and Emerging Concepts in Resistant Hypertension: Focus on the NEW-HOPE Study.” Dr. Ferdinand highlighted the results from the Phase 2b trial of firibastat, a first-in-class brain aminopeptidase A inhibitor (BAPAI). This study confirmed the excellent short-term results in lowering high blood pressure in a high-risk, diverse population and should lead the way to a pivotal Phase 3 trial with firibastat in resistant hypertension. The ABC-Quantum Genomics collaboration succeeded in optimizing the participation of traditionally underrepresented minorities in this trial. Participation of minority patients in clinical trials is an important part of ABC’s Collaborative Value-Based Care initiative and a critical component of ABC’s mission. 

Additional speakers from across the globe included Karol Watson, MD, PhD, Director of the UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center (“Addressing Cardiovascular Disease in Afro-Caribbean Populations through Cardiovascular Risk Prevention”), Dawn Scantlebury, MD, Senior Associate Lecturer in Cardiology, University of West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados (“Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Disease in Women – Special Considerations in Caribbean Patients”), Eric Velazquez, MD, Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale New Haven Hospital (“Lessons from STITCH, PARADIGM-HF and PIONEER-HF Trials – Implications for Caribbean Patients with Heart Failure), Michael Boyne, MD, PhD, Chair of Medicine at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica (“Role of Diabetes and Lipid Disorders in Heart Disease in the Caribbean”), Thomas Cappola, MD, ScM, Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (“Molecular Basis of Heart Failure”), Felix Nunura, MD of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (“Heart Failure in Caribbean Patients – Special Considerations”), David Harrison, MD, Medical Director and Vice President of Clinical Quality, Teladoc Health (“Improving Health Outcomes via Virtual Care”), Barbara Hutchinson, MD, ABC’s Immediate Past President and Managing Partner of Chesapeake Cardiac Care (“Sleep and Cardiovascular Disease – Special Considerations for the Caribbean”) and Glen Gaulton, PhD, Vice Dean and Director of the Center for Global Health, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (“Leveraging International Collaborations to Advance Global Healthcare: A Real World Approach”).

In a special evening ceremony at the Bob Marley Museum, Richard Allen Williams, MD, Founder of the ABC, received the 2019 HIC Trailblazer Award. Reggae Superstar and Legendary Icon, Marcia Griffiths (formerly part of Bob Marley and I-Threes) provided rousing entertainment for the faculty and attendees at the evening event.

The “Masters in Cardiology” conference was made possible through the support of a diverse group of stakeholders including the HIC Foundation, Quantum Genomics and Medtronic.

About ABC
Founded in 1974, the ABC is a nonprofit organization with an international membership of more than 1,800 healthcare, lay professionals, corporate and institutional members. The ABC’s mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, in Blacks and other minorities and to achieve health equity for all through the elimination of disparities. For more information on the Association of Black Cardiologists, visit

About HICEstablished in 2005, the HIC serves as a regional state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment center for heart disease in the Caribbean. Headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, where it opened its first center, the HIC has several locations across the island. Part of the HIC’s mission is to develop healthcare infrastructure in the Caribbean and build internal capacity that will be on par with the best international standards. HIC delivers expert care with a collaborative network of specialists linked by a global telemedicine network, previously unavailable in Jamaica and provides a full array of diagnostic testing for cardiac, vascular and thoracic disease, including nuclear imaging. For more information on the Heart Institute of the Caribbean, visit

SOURCE Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.

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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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